Transition to New Territories

Just as transitioning from the ICW to the Chesapeake Bay was an obvious change, so too is the transition from the Chesapeake Bay to the Northeast. We left Chesapeake City on schedule Monday afternoon and headed out to an anchorage in the Delaware River. There was nothing special about the view from this location unless you like to look at a nuclear power plant.

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The next day we traveled down the Delaware River and Delaware Bay to Cape Henlopen, a very peaceful spot with good protection from pretty much all directions.

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This lighthouse protected our anchorage at Cape Henlopen.

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We had delayed our travel down Delaware Bay so that the next day when we headed up the coast in New Jersey for an overnight sail to New York the weather would be conducive to comfortable travel. Tuesday turned out to be as predicted – surprise, surprise. The seas were a little lumpy at times but by and large it was comfortable sailing especially through the night. Although I did my best to guess the time it would take us to travel, once again I found it difficult. The tidal current at times would slow us as predicted, but other times wasn’t as strong as predictions. Although we wanted to approach NYC in the daylight and slowed our progress to help make that happen, we still approached the busy area before sunrise. That said, there was enough light from so many sources as we approached the metropolis that we had little trouble. 

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The Verrazano Narrows Bridge welcomed us to New York Harbor.

What did surprise us was the number of freighters and barges attached to tugs that were anchored in the harbor. Thanks to AIS, we knew which were moving and which were parked. By 6:30 AM we were anchored in the cove at Liberty Park, just in from Liberty herself.

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The anchorage was more crowded than we like, but we were crashing for a few hours before moving up the East River and on to Port Washington where we were to spend a couple of nights. We figured we could handle the time to get a few hours sleep even if it was a bit crowded.

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The view of the New York skyline were magnificent. Here is the 9/11 MemorIal,

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       And the Empire State Building

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And one of the many ferries we had to watch for

The travel from Liberty to Hell’s Gate where the East River is met by the Harlem River was pretty bizarre. We’ve been to NYC a number of times, but one gets no sense of the river traffic when driving around Manhattan. We were on constant watch for tugs, ships and high speed ferries which can move up to four times our speed. They know where they’re going, but we have to guess about it and do our best to stay out of the way. The heavy traffic only lasted an hour or so, and then thing settled down some.

We had planned to arrive at Hell’s Gate at slack tide, and that worked out well. So the final stretch to Port Washington was easy and peaceful. This town offers free moorings close to the town docks, and several were available when we arrived.

After a day of recovery and  grocery shopping, we moved on to Long Island Sound. The forecast for the next few days was good, but then stormy weather was forecast. Therefore we wanted to get to Onset by the western end of the Cape Cod Canal before that hit.

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One of several lighthouses on the Sound. In each area we traveled,the lighthouses had a little different look to them.

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Just one more beautiful sunset, this one at Block Island.

After two days travel in the Sound, we ended at Block Island for a night before heading up through Buzzards Bay to Onset. All went well, and we were safely anchored for the night before the thunderstorm hit. We’ll stay here for a few days preparing for a couple of family visits to our boat on the weekend.

Onset is a stop we’ve made in the past, and we always enjoy our time here. Although not officially part of Cape Cod, it does seem like it’s part of it with character typical of the Cape. The Bay here is well protected and just off the Canal. We can time our departure to take advantage of the strong current that runs there. It can run up near 5 knots at times, helping to carry us in to Cape Cod Bay and points north.

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Had to include another lighthouse, this one on the north end of Block Island after sunrise.

So in the past week or so we’ve come from one setting (the Chesapeake) through a second which is quite different (NYC) to a third with its own special character (southern NE and the Cape).  This sort of travel points to one of the real advantages of cruising and helps us better appreciate the rich variety our country offers.

More variety to come as we move up the coast.

Carpe Diem
Captain Bob

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Completing Our Travel in the Chesapeake

In the three weeks that have passed since the last blog update, we have been busy preparing the boat for travel and also beginning the northern portion of our summer trip. 

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Doing my duty, giving the boat a fresh coat.

We spent time painting the boat bottom, waxing the hull and getting other chores accomplished, in part with help from the crew at Severn Yachting Center. They took care of replacing the anchor light and getting the new halyard installed. Our outboard motor had issues they were unable to address before we had to head north, so we are rowing until we get to Maine where we hope to get it repaired. I replaced the exhaust elbow, but that was not easy, since I was not warned that the bolts holding the replacement part in place were of a different length from the originals. Getting the correct size was both annoying and time consuming. All of this work was made possible thanks to our daughter Jenn who took care of us and let us use her car.

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The view from the docks at Severn.

Severn Yachting Center, formerly Severn River Marina, is a peaceful spot we enjoyed for a few years when we lived there. The staff was ready and able to help make our stay comfortable and worthwhile this time as in the past.

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                Sunset at Mill Creek

We left Severn on Monday, June 6th and traveled to Mill Creek off the Great Wicomico River – a beautiful, peaceful stop. Then we moved on to Solomon’s Island.

As we headed up the Bay, we passed several lighthouses. One, Wolftrap Light had an interesting aspect in that it is for sale. Anyone interested in a home on the water?

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On the way to Solomon’s, I noticed that the alternator wasn’t charging properly. After doing a bit of reading and calling a couple of mechanics, I decided somebody else needed to deal with this. We were lucky to find a good tech, but it meant going to a marina. It all worked well and the problem was easily solved – a bad wire. Next time I’ll know to do it myself. This was an expensive lesson, but one worth learning. Because of some wind due in the next day, we spent an extra at day at Solomon’s Island . We took in the marine museum there which was really quite interesting. It covered everything from paleontology to Bay boat designs and lots in between.

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A lighthouse we toured at the museum

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This ancient shark swam much of the world and grew to 40 feet or more.

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Some of the prehistoric artifacts were found in these cliffs near Solomon’s Island.

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A resident of the Bay we saw at the museum

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These clouds looked almost like mountains in the distance.

From there we traveled to Annapolis, truly the sailing center for the Chesapeake. We went ashore to get a glimpse of the Naval Academy as well downtown. We’d never been there before when a boat show wasn’t in progress, so it was good to see it under more normal circumstances.

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DRC

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J27s sailing in amongst the moored boats after the race.

We got a mooring right in front of the Academy. We saw boats involved in at least three sailboat races that evening, all returning past us.

The next day we headed further north to the Sassafras River for a quiet anchorage before continuing on to Chesapeake City at the western end of the C & D Canal. Chesapeake City is a busy place on the weekend. Lots of tourists by car and by boat . We enjoyed a tour of the Canal museum after we arrived. Surprisingly this is the busiest canal in the country and the third busiest in the world. It’s history is really quite interesting.

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The Canada Geese present remind us we are no longer in the deep south.

We will stay till Monday when we will do a short trip out to the Deleware River. This will make the day sail down to Cape Henlopen easier and give us time relax before the overnight sail up the coast of New Jersey to the Big Apple

Carpe Diem
Captain Bob